Union of our solitudes

The first time I met her,
I met her eyes instead of her
and the sweating palm
that didn’t go with her charm.
Oh, how she managed to remain calm.

But as I stood among the audience,
each trapped in their worlds
with stories and histories,
and hysterics that filled the air
that they kept breathing,
I listened to the million voices
raging in my ears, each demanding attention
each pushing me a little towards the edge,
and petrified, I had stood in the crowd,

‘…when you think you can’t take it anymore’
she was reciting,
as if saying what I dared not speak.
But beyond the strength and the zing,
I could see in her eyes,
the makings of the same cliff.
This cliff that demands my fall,
enticing me with its heavenly call,
to take me to a place
that will be mine,
without a soul to judge,
also without anything divine.

And I knew I could have held on to her
and stayed,
but to succumb,
to lose myself by clinging to her,
meant both of us
that I would have betrayed.

It has been years and many such recitals
till she gave up and started to fade away.
But I still remember that first afternoon
after the event,
when among the dust motes,
and the sun-kissed air
smelling of spent love,
lying next to her,
I didn’t take the offered hand.

I remember how I had thought then
that it was me
who had to take the leap.
And every time,
it fills me with a pang,
a slap on my soul,
it strikes me with a bang,
if she was instead the one
who was stretching her hand
for me to pull her back.

Yearning for me
in her poetic interludes,
maybe she wanted to hold on
and I let her slip away,
if only to make sure that instead of us
our cliffs stood together,
but defeated, as they faced
the union of our towering solitudes.